“Who's better? Who should one aspire to be?” Wah asked. “I find the speculation … fascinating,” he joked, mimicking Spock's most famous catchphrase.
Wah, however, said his favorite character was Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, surgeon and senior medical officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Wah described the character as a key member of the leadership team, willing to collaborate to solve problems but also willing to question decisions from a scientific perspective while acting as an advocate for health and a driver for change.
“Damn it Jim, he's a doctor,” Wah said, echoing the character's signature phrase. “Bones bridged the gaps between the extremes of logic and instinct, rules and regulation, scientific knowledge and human compassion. He was a simple county doctor on a 23rd century spaceship.”
Wah then noted the new world of health IT, cloud computing and cybersecurity, and the new tools at hand to help patients.
“Physicians must harness technology, not let technology harness us,” Wah said. “With that prime directive in mind, we can now be open to new ideas, new techniques and new perspectives.”
Wah also mentioned how his grandfather ran the Kam Wah Chung & Co. trading post in the Chinese immigrant community of John Day, Ore. The store was where “Doc Hay,” a blind healer, practiced using traditional remedies and attracted Chinese and non-Chinese patients alike from as far away as Canada and Oklahoma.
“Even as I explore technological marvels of today, I am touched by the example of Doc Hay, a healer who used traditional methods from a distant time and place—kind of like a simple country doctor on a 23rd century starship,” Wah said.
And, yes, while concluding remarks on being energized and inspired by what the AMA can do for patients, communities and the country, Wah proclaimed that “We can boldly go where no physician has gone before.”
Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks